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Redefining Local

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For fifteen months now I have been blogging, mostly about being a locavore. I started out during my challenge to eat locally, by considering only locally grown items. I finally decided that this was unrealistic for me.

Locally grown, locally produced, or locally sourced. That’s my priority now. Beyond that, either organic or as natural as possible. Real food. Food made from scratch.

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Things not grown here in Maryland, ever, like olives and most citrus, most spices and chocolate, I agree, are part of my cooking and won’t be avoided. I just try and maximize the local ingredients, and I support our local farms and markets. I buy from them, even the things they sell that they brought in from outside the state.

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What has that meant? I shop rarely at grocery stores, and then, only for items not available at local markets, shops and farms. I shop organic as much as possible. I make many items from scratch, using fresh ingredients.

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I also don’t eat at chain restaurants, or eat fast food, unless we are in the middle of a turnpike with no other options. I can’t believe how differently I approach dining out. And, how I now cook.

My freezer is full of local veggies, fruits and meat. I shop at farms weekly. I pick up staples and organic items at the grocery stores, usually Wegmans or Harris Teeter these days and very little of my food budget goes to them.

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For my winter eat local challenge, I find that I don’t actually eat one meal a week that is local, but rather, I cook almost every meal with something local in it. Most of the time, the local items outnumber the others.

I know this isn’t easy to do, unless you have the time to do it. I really appreciate what our moms did, 50 years ago. Cooking from scratch every day. Eating in season. Stretching the food budget.

I see quite a few people doing the same as we are. Going back to basic cooking. Not eating all those overly processed foods from institutional food services. Not a bad way to spend time.

Bake a few brownies from scratch. Put a crock pot meal on the table. Spend time in the kitchen, instead of a restaurant lobby with a pager. Not a bad idea.

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Check out that grill. Everything on it locally sourced. Easy as it can be.

Here’s to really good food. Made with love.


About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

8 responses »

  1. A Table in the Sun

    I’m with you…..skip the extreme proclamations of being 100% local. Do your best to support the local economy and provide your family with a healthy diet. And yes, it takes time. I will sit at your feet and learn until I can retire in 4 years……….in the meantime 80% of my fresh produce is right outside my back door. Can’t get more local than that!

    • I wish I could grow more. Climate isn’t perfect. But, the local pick your owns make up for that.

      Sitting here tonight watching TV with a dessert. Frozen local peaches with lime, orange liqueur and pear nectar.

      Love having local foods in the freezer.

  2. love this. love it when people support local and organic. it’s the absolute BEST way to live. we could change the world if everyone did it. fully support you 🙂

  3. I’m working on this transition too. My cooking skills need a lot of improvement. My gardening skills need even more improvement, and I’m limited in what I can try as far as growing food due to my location. Last summer I learned about new vegetables, such as kohlrabi, thanks to the One Straw Farm CSA. I picked up the CSA produce at MOM’s Organic Market in Jessup, where I also do a lot of shopping. A clerk there told me that this store has experienced a noticeable drop in business since Wegmans opened.

    • While doing my value of CSA posts last year, I found MOM’s to be the most expensive store. Roots was best until Wegmans came along.

      Roots is closest to me, so I still go there often.

      I go to Wegmans for seafood as Frank’s is too far. I may hit MOM’s and Frank’s for a few things when I am getting my R&R taco fix.

      Having a freezer has been a huge plus. I can cook or freeze a full share, summer and fall, and make it through the winter out of the freezer.

      In a few weeks, my early bird Breezy Willow CSA starts. The freezer has enough tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, peaches and pesto to get me through to basil and tomato season.

      I may only do a small garden this year, and use Larriland to pick my own tomatoes for freezing.

  4. I have been reading the book “Folks This Ain’t Normal” written by Joel Salatin, a VA farmer. Read with a grain of salt, it is quite interesting. Not that I needed any more persuasion about why we should be eating real food, but it’s a good read anyway.

    I agree with you, Annie. There are just some things we like, that are healthy for us, which are not going to be sourced locally. I think as long as we buy responsibly and the majority of our food is real and locally sourced/grown/produced we are doing good. For ourselves and our planet.

    And isn’t it interesting how fast food doesn’t even taste good any more? 15 years ago you would not have convinced me of that. I eat it too, when traveling with dogs and there’s no where else to stop. It sure isn’t satisfying, not like a real food meal cooked from scratch.

    p.s. our only good garden area is too shaded now by the neighbor’s trees. We went to Larriland late last summer and picked tomatoes for freezing. They weren’t the type of tomatoes I used to freeze, not quite as flavorful (could have been due to weather) but they sure are much better than store-bought!!! They still smell like summer!

  5. Such a balanced approach to eating locally! I think so much of it has to do with the spirit and effort with which we approach eating locally versus being picky about everything being local.

  6. bigcitylittlekitchennyc

    “Going back to basic cooking. Not eating all those overly processed foods from institutional food services.”

    Couldn’t agree more! Eating local and organic whenever possible is a huge step towards healthy living. Living in NYC, it’s difficult and expensive at times, but well worth the effort. Great post!


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